Kildare County Council faces another fall in rates collected

Aras Chill Dara

Aras Chill Dara

COMMERCIAL rates income to Kildare County Council was almost €12m short of its budgeted target at the end of September, according to accounts given to elected councillors recently.

At the 26 November council monthly meeting, councillors heard that income from commercial rates was just over €34.8m for the year to the end of the third quarter.

The sum represented 75% of the €46.5m which the Council had budgeted for at its annual budget meeting.

To meet its budget target on this front, the Council will have to collect €11.67m before the end of December.

The Council 2011 annual financial statement showed that arrears for rates and service had grown by 5% that year. Arrears increased from €20.28m to €21.25m over the year.

Commercial rates rose by 22% from €8.42m on 1 January 2011 to €10.27m at the end of last December.

In 2011, the Council collected 77% or €34.37m of the €44.65m for which they had budgeted.

The total due to be collected by the Council in 2012 was €44.65m but it had, to the end of the third quarter, collected 77% of what was due.

The audit of the 2010 finances indicated a continued decline in collection rates, from 96% in 2007 to 81% in 2010.

This year, the Council has spent 80% of its budget at the end of the third quarter.

Overall, €104m of the annual €131m had been either spent or committed according to a report from Acting Head of Finance, Fiona Millane.

The reported also noted that spending on Higher Education Grants were slightly higher than budgeted at the six month mark but that money will be paid back to the Council by the State.

The Council is still hoping the percentage of people paying their household charge will rise by another few percentage points. If it does not collect 65% of the charges, it will loose another €100,000 in addition to the €565,000 which has already been written off.

On 30 July last, councillors were also told that the cuts would be made to front line services and community grants were also likely to be targeted if there there was not an increase in payments.

At that stage, Council income had been cut by €565,000 for the third quarter and there was worry the cut could rise to €1.6m unless there was a significant move in payments.

At the moment around 62% of the 68,215 households due to pay, have paid. On 30 July, 39,015 had paid.




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